I have mixed feelings when it comes to the idea of camping.
On the one hand, I grew up in the Southwest. By the time I was 12, I had already lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Louisiana. My family moved a lot and there were times when we did live in the country. I’ve spent time on farms. I love the city a bit too much to ever be called a country girl but, at the same time, I could probably adapt if I ever had to enter the witness protection agency and they gave me a new life in rural Arkansas.
And, even though I currently live in the suburbs and spend as much time as I can in the city (or at least I did until this year started), I still enjoy a nice country vacation. I enjoy going up to the lake. Jeff and I usually go out to Mt. Nebo at least once a year.
So, camping is not necessarily something that I can’t do. That said, I would be lying if I said that I’m really an experienced camper. To be honest, I find the wilderness to be a bit creepy. I’m the girl who jumps at every sound and who freaks out at the sight of a bug. I may say that I’m spending the weekend up at the lake but what that means is that I’m spending the weekend in an air-conditioned lake house with WiFi and cable. By that same token, going up to Mt. Nebo doesn’t mean actually camping out on a mountain. It means staying in a nice cabin and making sure that there aren’t any wild animals wandering about whenever I step out on the front porch.
My point is that I could relate to Sandra, the main character in the recent Lifetime film, Secrets In The Woods. As played by Brittany Underwood, Sandra is a smart, independent woman who may not have a lot of experience camping but who is determined to make the most out of the weekend that her boyfriend, Brant (Taylor Frey), has in store for them. Brant is definitely a country boy and he’s looking forward to showing Sandra around the cabin where he grew up.
Brant seems like a nice guy but, from the start, the camping trip has its problems. For one thing, a stop at a gas station leads to Sandra meeting a super creepy local who seems like he’s trying a bit too hard to be friendly. Then, when Sandra arrives at the cabin, she finds a picture of Brant’s dead mom. Though Sandra may not notice it, those of us watching immediately notice that Sandra and Brant’s mother share a physical resemblance.
A series of unfortunate events leads to Sandra injuring her foot and then losing the bag that not only had all of her clothes but also her shoes and the keys to Brant’s truck. They’re stranded up at the cabin! Brant says not to worry because his father will be along soon. And if Sandra wants to change clothes, she can just wear some of his mother’s old dresses and….
Uhmmm, wait …. what?
Okay, seriously, if a guy tries to get you to wear his mother’s clothes, it’s a huge red flag. I don’t care what the situation is. Even if it means spending the entire weekend in just your underwear, you do not agree to your boyfriend suggesting that you wear his mother’s old dress. YOU JUST DON’T! Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Anyway, things get even worse when Brant’s father, Langley (Jim Klock), shows up and it turns out that father and son have been looking forward to trapping Sandra in the wilderness….
You’ll probably be able to guess where Secrets In The Woods is heading from the minute that Brant and Sandra first show up at the cabin but no matter. The fact that movies like this are occasionally predictable is a part of a fun. We know that Sandra’s making a mistake by trusting Brant and the real suspense comes from waiting for Sandra to figure out what’s going on as well. Brittany Underwood is a sympathetic lead and she’s ably supported by Kabby Borders, who plays her sister. Depending on what’s going on at any particular moment, Taylor Frey is both convincingly likable and convincingly creepy as Brant. Meanwhile, Jim Klock turns Langley into a wonderfully hissable villain.
Secrets In The Woods is fun, as the best Lifetime films tend to be. See it before you go on your next camping trip.